Tag Archives: therapy

Therapy, Spring Cleaning, and An Update

23 Apr

Doodlebug

Almost 2 months ago, I wrote about taking my eldest daughter to counseling.  It’s a hard thing to start, counseling – at least it was for me 5 years ago when I began treatment for my postpartum depression.  All I knew of therapy was what I had seen on television and in pop culture, and neither was particularly flattering.

I believed that seeking therapy showed weakness.  Deficiency.  Now I know it shows strength.  It takes courage to admit that things are not as they should be as you want them to be.  What surprised me was the amount of bravery required to see the process through.

For me, it was kind of like cleaning out a long-neglected closet.  First, you take everything out.  You dig to the bottom of boxes and bins.  You spread the clutter throughout the room and it feels like you’re going backward – making more of a mess instead of cleaning up.  It’s at that precise moment you consider just scooping up armfuls of momentos, lost buttons, and dirty socks and  closing them back in the boxes they emerged from.  Maybe you can pretend you never saw them.  But instead, you take a deep breath and make a conscious choice to move forward.  As each item crosses you hands, you make a decision.  You process what it means to you and you decide how to let it further affect your life.  This goes in the garbage.  That gets put away on a shelf.  And maybe this other thing was something you had been desperately searching for.

It’s laborious.  Tedious.  Emotional.  And some days, I left therapy feeling worse than when I went in.  And then?  One day things started to feel less overwhelming.  It was like that moment when you place the last organized bin in the neglected closet and the doors shut for the first time in years, and you think maybe, just maybe, you can tackle another room.

So.  I was prepared for a process when my daughter began working with her counselor.  I was prepared for things to get worse before they got better, and I was ready for it to take a while.  As it turns out, she’s made incredible progress in the last 8 weeks.  Her outbursts are fewer and less intense.  She can identify her emotions and use her words to share about them.  And most importantly, she’s learned to ask for help.

It’s honestly been an amazing transformation, and I can’t rationally give all the credit to 6 therapy appointments, no matter how much I like and respect her therapist.  At the recommendation of several friends and family, despite my intense skepticism, we substituted almond milk for cow’s milk in our house.  Some of you suggested that a food allergy or intolerance could manifest as behavioral problems.  Doodlebug suffered from MSPI as a baby, and I assumed she outgrew it as the physical symptoms disappeared after about 18 months.  Because of her history with milk intolerance and her sister’s current inability to drink milk, I thought it was worth a try. She’s well-nourished, so what could it hurt?

Now, maybe the counseling gave her a sense of connectedness and belonging that she was missing.  Or maybe, like many things, her behavioral changes were just part of a phase.  Perhaps she matured neurologically in the last 8 weeks and everything I’ve done to help her only appears to have worked because of coincidence.  This is not hard science, and I’m not prepared to test my theories by handing her a giant glass of milk and waiting for the fireworks to begin.  I’m happy to just be glad things are better and to be mindful of what may have helped.

We’re taking a break from therapy for a while – she and I both know it’s there if we need it.  And my daughter knows it’s nothing to be ashamed of or to fear.

What a gift I’ve given her, normalizing something that was so traumatic and stigmatizing for me.

I’m kind of proud of myself.

Now if I could only find time to work on those closets.

 

Click here to donate to my Climb Out of the Darkness Hike!

Click here to donate to my Climb Out of the Darkness Hike!

Accomplishment, Worthiness, and Compulsion

11 Apr

I let someone down recently.  They saw a side of me I genuinely hate but can’t seem to change.

I have “compulsive completion disease”.  If there’s a job that needs doing, I throw myself into it and knock tasks off the to-do list with wild abandon.  I honestly can’t help myself and usually don’t realize I’ve overstepped my bounds until it’s too late.  I was the kind of kid in school who completed class projects weeks before their due date, who looked forward to homework, who hated group projects, and who reminded the teacher that he had forgotten that extra credit assignment for us to turn in on Monday.  If you *were* in a class project with me?  You probably got an A but didn’t get to do much.

My mom has it, too.  When she comes to watch the kids, she often puts in a load of laundry and unloads the dishwasher.  She brings rolls of paper towels and reorganizes my pantry.  It drives me nuts.

I used to feel like she helped out because she thought I couldn’t handle the housework … as if her assistance was a quiet judgement of my diminishing value as a housekeeper.

But really, that was just how I felt about myself.  I was the only person who thought her help was about me.

I’ve learned to let her help.  I ignore the thoughts that feel annoyed and focus on accepting her assistance, because the truth is that I really do need it with the housework and the girls.  And I’ve learned when to ask her not to help… because the truth is that there are times I want to do things for myself, and I want her to respect those boundaries.  She does.

A friend asked me to step back recently.  To help less and to listen more.  And that my personality hurt her somehow is eating at me.  I know I always seem so wise and so in control of the shame that plagues us all, but this one, I just can’t shake.

I’ve apologized.  She and I are okay.  I know that my imperfection does not make me unworthy of her friendship.  But I know I’ve let her down.  I loathe letting people down as much as I adore helping people –  which just goes to show that I’m equating my self-worth with my accomplishments instead of believing that I am worthy of love and belonging despite what I do or what mistakes I make.

Letting accomplishments feed my joy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when I find myself clutching success with an iron grip in fear of losing people I love, I need to reexamine my motivations.

I’m a do-er.  It’s a part of who I am.

But I want to do better at doing less.

Help and Hope

5 Mar

Tomorrow, I’m taking my eldest child to therapy.  She’s five.  And it feels like failure.

Now, I’m the first person to tell you that therapy is a wonderful gift to give yourself.  It’s one of the best and hardest things I’ve ever done – it broke me and healed me simultaneously and gave me the gifts of introspection and self-acceptance.  I’m eternally grateful to the tailspin that was PPD for forcing me into a shrink’s office. (Side note:  Anybody else remember that cartoon, Talespin?  I loved that show as a kid!)

So why do I feel fractured?  Why was the phone call to the counseling center about my child almost as hard as when I called about my own issues so many years ago?  Introspection to the rescue.

…………………………..

“Her fears of children’s television shows and the wind, her anxieties about crowds and friendships, and her rage-filled temper tantrums – how are these not my fault?  How can a child spend the first two years of her life with an depression-consumed mother and not have the yelling and the emotional barriers affect her personality?”

My inner-monologue screams at me as I write the appointment time and date on my calendar, adding it to my phone and my weekly to-do list.  And to add insult to injury, I find I’ve written the appointment on the incorrect date and must write it again, the hurtful rhetoric echoing with every letter and number.

I break down in tears and sob while both daughters smack their mouths on gooey peanut butter sandwiches.

……………………………..

I’ve written about my experiences as a new mother with postpartum depression and anxiety before.  I’ve made a practice of not hiding how devastating that time was – of not allowing shame to dominate my life now.  I thought I was over it.  But the guilt monster, it seems, has a thirst that can never be quenched.  She sneaks back in and reminds me of all the time I missed and of all the damage I must have caused.  When will I be able revisit those days without anguish and without all the sights and sounds torturing my memory?

Facing that my little girl needs some help with what we call her “big feelings”  is forcing me to reflect on my own struggles with mental health.  It’s making me step out of the present and reside temporarily in her past… my past.  And in looking back, I remember that I’m angry for what the PPD took from me and for what it gave to my child.

………………………………

“What a gift you are giving her.  The chance to learn to be introspective and to ask for help.  I wish it had been alright to not be okay when I was a kid.”

My friends talk me down from a shame spiral, the depths of which only a peer would  know.  They tell me I am a good mom for allowing myself to go back to the pain and recognize that it gives me the power to help my baby.  They speak of courage.  And I try not to feel like a fraud.

…………………………….

The truth is that even though I know that I did not cause my child’s dramatic and spirited personality – even though I recognize that I am doing everything I can to help her grow into who she is and to care for her needs with respect and love – I don’t feel worthy of her.

And there it is.  This therapy appointment feels like evidence that she deserved better.

And yet I’m exactly the momma she needs.

………………………….

We stand in front of the white door and she notices the meditation medallion hanging from the door knocker.  Nervously, she reaches out for my hand.  Together, we take a deep breath and step, through our fears and hesitations, into help and hope.

Depression and Anxiety Resources

17 Nov

I’m updating my page about postpartum depression and anxiety with a series of my favorite Learned Happiness posts. My journey to health is not unlike many others in the PPD community and yet it has its own subtle nuances and my story is, of course, my own.

I’ve pieced together my journey from the depths of postpartum depression and anxiety to the amazing place I find myself today – one of balance and mental health instead of mental illness. I will always struggle with anxiety and the depression it brings with it, but it is a part of my life instead of the entirety of it.

Learned Happiness – My original piece on how my depression created a cycle of learned helplessness and how I hope to break that cycle with this blog.
Therapy – A post about how my attitude toward therapy changed during my treatment and why I believe it’s so important.
Lows – Two steps forward and one step back.  Despite healing after my first bout with PPD, I found the lows returning and challenged them with all the self-care and depression tools I had.
Health Activists Writer’s Monthly Challenge – The WEGO Health HAWMC post about what my anxiety is and feels like.
Because I Can – Why I write about mental health.
Mother’s Day Rally – The first time Katherine invited me to write for Postpartum Progress and I went all fangirl and freaked out.  You must read all the Mother’s Day Rally for Mental Health Letters to New Moms.  They are inspiring.
Antental Depression Part One – I was seven weeks pregnant with Bean when I began having intrusive thoughts and felt my world collapsing around me.
Antental Depression Part Two – Thank you to Postpartum Progress, the Mother’s Day Rally Letters, and Marlene Freeman at MGH.  This is where my life began to truly turn around.
Rainy Day Letter – Yael Saar was kind enough to host me at PPD To Joy.  This is part of her Rainy Day Letter series.  The other letters?  Worth sitting down with.  Bring some kleenex.
A Rough Couple of Weeks – On increasing medication mid-pregnancy and all the feelings that come with it.
Dog Tired – On my pregnancy progress.  Evidence that with the right medication and therapy, a second pregnancy can be joyful.
Invisible Wounds – Anxiety and depression are “invisible” to the outside world, but they are very real illnesses.
Ready – Feeling ready for the second baby, prepared for possible PPD, and supported by my IRL and online army.
Warning Signs – A post informing my friends and family what to look for after my second baby was born, written just before her arrival.  My PPD went unnoticed the first time around.  I believe the key to my health the second time around was being upfront and honest with my support network about what to look for and how to help me.
Happy Birthday – The joyful arrival of Bean.
Expectations – How lowering my expectations postpartum helped me stay mentally healthy after my second baby was born.
Panic Attack – The panic attack nine weeks postpartum that had me waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Time Capsule – A HAWMC prompt post about what would be in my PPD time capsule.
When We Know Better… – A HAWMC prompt with my favorite quote.  How does knowing better the second time around translate into a better postpartum experience?
Self Care – Another HAWMC prompt about why I write about mental health.  Hint:  It’s mostly for me.
Persistence – My favorite post of all time.  Inspired by a tree.  Yes, a tree.
Haiku – I wrote terrible haikus about mental health.  Seriously terrible.  But the links to Sweetly Voiced’s diabetes haikus are worth the click!
Tweet, tweet. Boom. – One silly conversation with my husband.  That’s all it took to tell me I was really on the way to being well.
Mother’s Day – “To love her more than I feared her.”  That Mother’s Day I had all I really wanted.
Anything – Five months postpartum, the anxiety and obesessive thoughts returned.
PPD, the Second Time Around – On feeling hopeful and full of joy despite the return of my postpartum anxiety.
Giving Up Control – Why does everything mental health-related for me end up being about my childhood?  On seeking out a reason for my anxiety and how that helped me put it in its place.
PPD and Marriage – PPD rocked my marriage.  Hard.  My husband was hurt just as I was.
I Need Your Help – My post for Strong Start Day 2012 in which I admit to intrusive thoughts about falling down the stairs.
When Birthdays Aren’t So Happy – Dealing with the joy of my oldest daughter’s 4th birthday and the trauma of the anniversary of my PPD onset.
Breastfeeding on Psychotropic Medication – Why I choose to breastfeed while medicated for depression and anxiety, with special care to support women no matter how they feed their babies.
Not For Weak Stomachs – A horrid month of health issues, which I dealt with without any mental health complications.  This was a huge week for me, realizing that my mental illness was well-controlled enough to allow me to deal with crises calmly.  Also?  I was carried down the stairs by a team of firemen while wearing only my underwear.  Good times.
So You Think I Shouldn’t Have Had Children – My response to Anderson Cooper’s piece about the “trend” of mothers taking antidepressants and the horrid FB comments on his fan page in response to the story.
Don’t Call Them “Happy Pills” – On medication and stigma and a primer on how my antidepressant and anti-anxiety pills work.
I Am Not Okay (But I Will Be) – My low days and irritability may periodically return, but armed with therapy, medication, and support, they are short-lived.
Talking Climb Out of the Darkness With My Daughter – Doodlebug and I made a video about postpartum depression and why we were hiking in 2013.
A Tale of Five Medications (Or Don’t Lose Hope) – All about my medication journey, why it is so hard to find the right medication formula and how stigma kept me from being treated for much too long.

And that bring us to today.  A day where I am healthy enough to be an advocate with thirty-something posts on mental illness.  Which honestly?  Is humbling.

I’ll be adding them to the resource page and updating my sidebar this week with my favorite blogs about mental health.  The more we talk about this, the more people we help.  I’m proud to be a part of that.

Crocheted Happiness

27 Aug

I did something scary yesterday.  As I hit “publish,” my heart was actually pounding in my chest and I took three deep breaths to slow its thumping.

I opened an Etsy store.

Crochet Hat

I know, not really so scary, right?  Except it means I’m saying “I’m so good at something that you should buy it.”  It’s hard for me to self-promote like that.  Hard for me to believe that my work is worthy of a storefront.  And it means that I accept that there’s a possibility it will fail.

Now, I have two choices:  I can take every stat personally, every sale.  I can calculate the ratio of dollars per stitch.  I can be crushed if (when?) nobody buys anything.  OR.  Or I can focus on the value in the attempt.  I can say, “Watch me try,” like I used to as a child.  If you haven’t already, you must go read this piece by Planting Dandelions.  She hits the nail on the head.

It cost me $1 to open my store and list the hats I’ve been making just for fun.  Crochet is my self-care.  It soothes my anxiety.  I’m compulsively doing it anyway. So really, if the shop fails, I will have lost only $1 and a little bit of time.  And so I hit “publish.”

Hold me.

Etsy Shop Banner

 

When Birthdays Aren’t So Happy

14 Oct

No1 turned 4 this week.  Among the bittersweet celebration of her newest number floated tiny flashbacks.  Bit and pieces of the horror kept snapping me out of my happiness.  The 37-week induction for no reason, the 12 hours she spent in ICU because of fluid in her lungs, the second-degree cervical laceration, and the feeling of complete disconnect with my new baby girl.  One of my most vivid memories of the day she was born is being wheeled into the ICU and realizing I had absolutely no idea which baby was mine.

Four years ago, early in October, I lost who I knew myself to be.  It may be the anniversary of my baby’s birth, but it’s also the anniversary of the onset of my PPD.

Past birthdays haven’t been so hard.  But my birth experience with No2 was so beautiful and peaceful and my bond so deep and immediate, that the anger over how bad round one was has resurfaced.  It’s almost as if comparing experiences has highlighted how horrid the first one was.  I realize it’s water under the bridge. . . that I have an amazing little girl who knows that she is loved and feels it ever day with me.  Maybe it shouldn’t matter how I gave birth to her, but it does.  Those early days were filled with emotional and physical trauma, both of which I suppose I’m still healing from.

Today, we celebrated with a party.  A house full of preschool friends, yellow “happy car convertible” decorations, a Matchbox car race, crafts, and treats.  It was joyful and a celebration of everything No1 is in this moment.  She had an incredible time.  Incredible.  I’m choosing to focus on that.  Choosing to live in the present.

But in these quiet moments when my heart reaches back to the past and aches for what might have been, or regrets all the time lost to denial and naiveté , I am trying to be kind to myself.  I’m staying up late to play video games with my husband, imagining Velma’s face on each villain and alien creature.  I’m taking long showers, freshening up the pink in my hair, and wearing my favorite makeup.  I’m sleeping in on the weekends and going to bed early to listen to podcasts I know will send me off to dreamland.  I’m sipping my coffee slowly and microwaving it as many times as it takes to finish the whole cup hot.  I’m soaking in each “I love you,” from my now-four-year-old.

It’s okay to celebrate her four astounding years on this earth and grieve for the joyful birth and postpartum experiences I was deprived of.  And spooning chocolate frosting straight from the can into my face?  Sure has helped with both.

Gifts Of Imperfection – Courage, Compassion, and Connection, Week Two

17 Sep

If you’re just joining in, you can find Week One here.  And the link to the book here.  Welcome.

Gifts Of Imperfection  – Courage, Compassion, and Connection

Brene Brown calls courage, compassion, and connection the Gifts of Imperfection because all three require us to be vulnerable and imperfect, but reap great rewards of a more wholehearted life.  

I particularly love how she discusses that these are life habits – that you can practice “couraging” to become more courageous. I have to say that I have found this to be true. By blogging about my experiences with mental health, I’ve had to practice all three gifts. And it *has* gotten easier to be courageous with practice, though I still struggle in certain settings and with particular people (sometimes even myself!) to be courageous, compassionate, and to connect.  Feeling overwhelmed?  Not to worry.  Brene gives practical, everyday examples of what these look like and makes it clear that even small steps toward the “three C’s” will contribute to your sense of worthiness.

Here are a few of my “a-ha” moments from this chapter:

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” (p. 20)

“The heart of compassion is really acceptance. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become. Well, it’s difficult to accept people when they are hurting us or taking advantage of us or walking all over us. This research has taught me that if we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.” (pp. 16-17)

“Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it—it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. The most dangerous thing to do after a shaming experience is hide or bury our story. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes.” (pp. 9-10)

Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection. BookMobile. Kindle Edition.

For me, it all boils down to speaking my truth.  Being real with myself and people in my life.  It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worthwhile.

Tell me about a time you practiced or witnessed “ordinary courage”. What are some small, practical ways you can be mindful and practice courage, compassion, and connection this week?

Disclaimer: I purchased the book Gifts of Imperfection on my own and am not being compensated for my review of the book or for promoting it. I receive no kickback from any of the Amazon links provided above. I simply love the book and want to share.

Gifts of Imperfection – Introduction, Week 1

10 Sep

If you’ve read my about page, you know how much Brene Brown’s work has inspired me to live an authentic life – to be vulnerable and honest with myself and others.  After I saw her video (linked on the about page), I downloaded Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are to my Kindle and devoured it in a matter of days.

It was life-changing.

It allowed me to gently look at who I know myself to be and to examine why I was hiding my true self from others.  It taught me about the perils of shame.  And it pushed me to write my story.  This story.  My blog is the result of a giant leap of faith I took after completing the book.  Brene wrote about how vulnerability contributes to happiness – and so I told the world about my PPD.  Fearful of the reaction, I pressed the “publish” button.  I have never regretted that click.

So I’d like to share the book with you.  I started discussing it with my friends over at Mama’s Comfort Camp on Facebook, but feel like this might be a better place.  I’ll summarize a chapter each week and ask you to respond to a prompt to get us started.  You can join in at any time, and there is no deadline on a chapter.  I’ll add a Discuss tab to the menu bar so you can find the discussion easily.

Here’s where you can find a copy of the book.  And here is Brene’s blog, which is awesome.  She has a new book called Daring Greatly, which I can’t wait to read.  When I have time to read again, that is.  😉

There’s a preface, but I’d like to start with the Introduction.  Ready?

Gifts of Imperfection, Introduction

The introduction is an overview of the entire book…a little of everything. Brene talks about her interpretation of Wholeheartedness and suggests that daily practice of courage, compassion, belonging, and being vulnerable can lead to already fulfilling life.

The sentence that resonated the most with me is on the first page: “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.” I want to get back to a place where I believe this about myself.  I measure the successfulness of my days by counting dishes in the sink and crumbs on the floor.  I calculate how much I depended on other people for help and feel guilty or “less than” for needing it.  I know I’m not alone in being my harshest critic, and I think that this idea of unconditional worth could be transformational for us all.

What was your immediate reaction to the sentence above?  What kind of emotions did it bring up for you?

What sentence/idea from this chapter resonated the most with you, and why?

 

Disclaimer: I purchased the book Gifts of Imperfection on my own and am not being compensated for my review of the book or for promoting it. I receive no kickback from any of the Amazon links provided above. I simply love the book and want to share.

Giving Up Control

31 Aug

My mom is ever the boy scout.  Prepared for anything and everything.

Yesterday while we were out shopping she picked up a microwavable syrup bottle.  Apparently my dad fails to read warnings and almost melts Mrs. Butterworth on a weekly basis.  When we got back to her home I noticed that she had saved the packaging.  She explained that it had a 5-year warranty, and should any of the seals leak, she wanted to have the paperwork handy.  After stapling the receipt to the warranty, she filed them together.  I don’t know about you, but I figure when I spend $5 on a syrup bottle that I’m accepting a risk.  If it should break after 5 years of dutiful syrup-warming, then at least I got my money’s worth.  If it falls apart after three days, I call it a $5 lesson.  But not my mom.   I told you.  She’s prepared for everything.

I truly admire her organization and preparation, and I have to say that it’s come in handy on more than one occasion. When I have forgotten my toothbrush on a weekend at the lake, she always has an extra.  She has sterile strips for paper cuts in her bathroom cabinet that I have used more than once.  Need a foldable luggage carrier?  Boom.  Apple corer? It’s yours.  Forget about your gynecologist appointment and need someone to watch the kids?  She kept the day free just in case.

She was a stay-at-home-mom and cared for me and my two brothers in much the same way back then.  She is an amazing mom, and the best grandma a kid could hope for.

But.

I’m beginning to think all those years of being prepared for absolutely everything played a part in the development of  my OCD – specifically my need for control.  Deep down when things go wrong, I find myself sure that I could have prevented them if I just had just planned better.  And thus I tend to anticipate anything that might go wrong and overcompensate by over-planning.

It’s as if I’m waiting for the house to spontaneously combust for no reason.  But instead of the typical safety precautions like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, I’ve summoned the fire department and sit patiently aiming a fire hose at the roof just in case.  It’s difficult to relax when you’re holding a fire hose.  For one thing, it’s heavy.  And its exhausting trying to maintain control over its pressurized contents.

I want to be clear.  I do not blame my upbringing for my mental health issues.  But I do think it’s helpful to look at contributing factors like societal conditioning, personality, birth order, and life and childhood experiences when I’m trying to work though my anxiety.  If I can find fault in an idea I always accepted to be true based on my past, than I just might have a chance at letting it go.

Giving up control of the world around me means giving up responsibility.   It’s liberating to give myself permission to simply respond to difficult situations instead of feeling the need to prevent them.  I don’t always succeed at this venture, but when I do, I feel my anxiety melt away.

I’m truly grateful to my mom for teaching me responsibility.  But in the spirit of self-care and mental health, I’m going to try to be a little less careful from now on.  But only a little.

 

Mother’s Pride

18 Mar

Thanks to Charity over at Our Giggles and Grimaces for inspiring us to be proud of our successes.  As mothers and women, we don’t brag about ourselves enough.  We worry that it will look like boasting, or will intimidate others, so we pretend to be smaller than we are. I’m so glad she’s asked us to hold our heads up high and share the good!

I’m proud of myself for….hmmm…you know what?  I’ve faced a lot of adversity in the last three years and I’ve always joked that I didn’t have to do it with grace – that I just needed to survive.  But when I look back, I’m proud of how I’ve handled myself.  I’ve come through the PPD, the anxiety, the antenatal depression, the baby’s birth, two herniated disc episodes, and the death of two grandparents with composure and introspection.  I’ve asked for help, spoken up and called doctors, gone to therapy, and done the work to get better.

As a mother, I’ve made breastfeeding No2 a priority.  As long as I believe it’s still in her best interest, I will continue to fight for it.  I’ve had to be flexible and adjust my expectations of what breastfeeding will be for us, which has been the hardest part.  But I’m making it work.

I’ve coped with No1’s toddler antics calmly and rationally in the last few months.  She’s so very three and still adjusting to having a baby sister, so things have been tense.  But I believe I parent her with a good balance of discipline and affection.

I went back to teaching lessons 6 weeks after the baby was born.  I missed the kiddos and worried they would get behind, but mostly, I did it for me. It’s my “In the Zone” time and I love it.  It’s a ton of work to make it happen each week and I couldn’t do it without my awesome family and friends, but I’m proud of myself for being gutsy enough to give it a try.

So there you go.  That feels pretty good, actually.  Won’t you join us?

Head on over to Our Giggles and Grimaces and link up!

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